England recorded an 11-1 second-half streak to overcome Wales 21-7 in the opening game of their Home Internationals campaign.
Wales were in touch at the half only trailing by four and had closed the game to 8-6 midway through the 2nd quarter, but England’s dominant performance after the break saw them romp home as comfortable winners.
England got off to a flying start consistently winning possession off the draw and moving the ball quickly in attack with a good intensity, driving at the defence and working plenty of scoring opportunities.
Camilla Hayes began the scoring, with Torz Anderson and Tilly Shires both notching soon after to put England 3-1 ahead.
Hellie Kellett-Clarke pulled one back for Wales, but it did nothing to halt the England attack, Claire Faram and Jenny Simpson both getting their first, along with another for Anderson who caused problems for Wales’ defence all day working smartly around the crease, rolling and spinning off her marker a number of times as England led 6-2 at ¼ time.
The 2nd quarter proved to be a purple patch of sorts for Wales as they began to see more of the ball in attacking areas, and while Anderson added another two, goals for Laura Warren, Ellie Jones and Sophy Coombes-Roberts brought the score back to 8-6.
The last couple minutes of the half helped to give England some breathing space going into the break as Shires, who impressed the crowds with a number of drives to goal combined with impressive stick work, one which drew a free position, that was duly finished by Simpson who also caused problems with her work behind the goal.
Simpson then got another in quick succession as Wales’ ‘keeper Polly Brooks tried to clear, the England attacker hassled and harried, blocked the clear and pushed it in on the bounce to put England 10-6 up at the half.
After a tight 2nd quarter, England came flying out of the blocks after the interval, going on a 6-0 run in Q3 to put the result beyond doubt.
The 10 aside game presented England with lots of space to attack and as Coach Collier eluded to earlier in the week, there seemed to be plenty of opportunities for his side to take advantage of the reduced numbers.
Long spells of settled possession for the England attack put the Welsh defence under consistent pressure and caused a number of free position opportunities.
Faram, Anderson and Liv Wimpenny twice scored from the 8-metre while Wimpenny once again and Anna Featherstone added further goals from open play to put England 16-6 ahead at ¾ time.
The last quarter also continued in a similar vein, with Olivia Higson and Nancy Day both getting their first goals of the game to take the number of England scorers in the match to nine, and while Amy Martin did break Wales’ goal drought, the English defensive unit including Annie Hillier and Sophie Whitehead got better as the game went on and restricted Wales to very few chances.
Shires and Higson both got their second of the game in the final minutes as England continued to stay sharp in front of goal until the final whistle.
They now look forward to a crucial decider against hosts Scotland after their victory over Wales on Friday.
Torz Anderson 5G, Liv Wimpenny 4G, Jenny Simpson 3G, Tilly Shires 2G, Claire Faram 2G, Camilla Hayes 1G, Anna Featherstone 1G, Nancy Day 1G